Weather report

Although the calendar indicates that we should be enjoying Spring, Mother Nature has refused to cooperate. In the weeks since the reportedly “gentler season” officially began on March 21, we have experienced mostly cold and/or very damp weather…the kind of weather that does not draw me out for trail walking with my camera. As a result, even though the birds have been out and about, this trail walker hasn’t been!  Consequently, three weeks into the month, I have a very meagre collection of April images to share; however, here are a few birds that agreed to pose in the middle of their daily activities:

After momma great horned owl, pictured above, another regular to show up was my favorite, the red-bellied woodpecker:

 

 

Following Mr. Redbelly, is another woodpecker, the little downy, but he didn’t pose for long, and, as light was leaking out of the afternoon sky,  I only captured one image of him.

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Other regulars willing to pose, despite the cold, were the perennial popular cardinals and blue jays:

 

 

Last, but of course, not least, even though they are the smallest, is the black-capped chickadee.

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Believe it or not, he had just walked through that arch on the fence post.
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And came out with a large piece of peanut.

Daylight was vanishing, so I decided to close up my camera and head home for supper. On this chilly April afternoon, I was glad to be leaving the park with a few pictures captured on my memory card. Hopefully, the weather will improve soon, and I will have more pictures to share.

Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.

Here’s hoping our weather (and other things) soon improve!
Feel free to leave comments. I love to chat with you.
Trail Walker

Regular birds, but irregular weather

Walking down the trail a few days ago, I saw and heard a bird I didn’t recognize. Sitting by itself on the branch of a tree, it was singing a happy song. I’m sure it was just as delighted with the warm weather and sunshine as I was. Here are a couple of pictures of the happy bird. It sounded like a phoebe, but I’m not sure that’s the right ID. If you  know, please let me know in the comment section below.

Correction: Eliza Waters took the time to identify this happy songster as an Eastern Towhee.  That qualifies it as one of our regular birds. ~Thanks, Eliza.

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Unfortunately for both the happy songbird and me, the weather changed drastically last night, and the temperature has dropped some 30 degrees as clouds and, now rain, moved in! Sigh! 😖  However, despite the changeable weather patterns (that I blame on our location on the south shore of Lake Erie), spring is bound to come sooner or later. We’ll just have to wait a little longer.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

To complete today’s post, below are a few more “regular birds” I enjoyed along the trail this week.

 

 

Thanks for visiting, friends.
Wishing you sunny days and blue skies!
Trail Walker

Sunday Stroll

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Despite being unseasonably cold, as you can see from the hats, gloves, and winter jackets on these walkers, Sunday afternoon was a good time for a trail walk. After visiting the owl and owlet you can see in my recent post, I strolled on down the trail to see what else was happening on this chilly afternoon.

My first stop was the rail fence where a redwinged blackbird was announcing his presence.  Watching the blackbird, I also glimpsed a song sparrow hiding in a nearby thicket. Capturing a good picture of her was challenging, but the focus is pretty good despite all the brambles obstructing the view (Remember you can click on a picture to enlarge it).

Farther down the trail, approaching the bog, I was hoping to spot the bluebird I saw when I walked this trail last week. Unfortunately, no bluebirds showed up today, but several other birds were winging from treetop to treetop, high over the bog.

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downy (or hairy) woodpecker
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red-bellied woodpecker (male)

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Finally, while passing the bog, I stopped to watch some mallards playing in the water. Just watching them chilled my bones despite my heavy jacket, but I shot off a couple of frames for my son-in-law Mike who likes to see the mallards. Some of the ducks were splashing around in the water, creating waves and sending huge droplets into the air, but these two were just parked on a log, almost as if they were posing for a portrait, so I was happy to oblige.

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Male mallard #1
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Male mallard #2

 

The end of the trail was nearly in sight, my toes were “froze,” and I was ready to head for home. Thanks for coming along on my Sunday stroll.

See you soon.
Hopefully the weather will be warmer!
Trail Walker

I was surprised…

On my Sunday afternoon walk in the park, Momma Owl and one fluffy owlet were sitting up in plain sight in their nest. I was told there is a second owlet, but apparently it was in hiding. The curly haired little owlet can easily be seen in two of the pictures, but then Momma, likely restless from sitting so long in her tree top cavity, decided to change her position. The third picture gives a good idea of how big she is.  (Click on any picture for a larger version).

 

Although the website I checked said a mature Great Horned Owl is similar to a crow or goose and slightly larger than a red-tailed hawk, she looks really chubby, even bigger than I expected. The nest must be at least 20 feet above ground, although I am no judge of heights, so that could be wrong. Momma cannot move her eyes from side to side, but all Great Horned Owls can swivel their heads more than 180 degrees so they can look in any direction. This little family is exciting to see and  for weeks has attracted lots of attention from all the bird watchers and photo fanatics in the park. They must wonder at the crowds gathered at the base of their tree, aiming cameras at them from sunup to sundown.

Our weather was cold yesterday and again today (in the 30s), but we are expecting a warm up later in the week. With the warmer temperatures, rain and overcast skies are predicted, but I hope to get a few more portraits of the owl family this week. Cross your fingers for more sunshine please!

Thanks for stopping for a visit today.
Trail Walker

 

Persistence

Feeding animals in the park is frowned upon, and I understand why, so I don’t feed them…most definitely not the deer because that could create unpleasant and perhaps even frightening situations for other walkers. However, I will sometimes drop a few peanuts in an out-of-the-way spot or hold out a few in my hand, just for the little birds. And they will demonstrate remarkable persistence, just for that little piece of shelled peanut.

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People could learn a lesson in persistence from the birds, and persistence is a very valuable trait. So if someone tells you that you are stubborn, just remind them that you are persistent, not stubborn. Words do make a difference!

See you soon.
Trail Walker

Short post: Cute birds, few words!

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No time for a trail walk today, and to tell the truth, trail walking when the wind is almost strong enough to blow me over (slightly exaggerated, but not much!) is not something I’m likely to do. Here’s hoping we will see some serious improvements in the current version of “spring” by this time next week!

Thanks for stopping by today.
See you again as soon as the weather warms up
and the wind stops “blowing a hoolie!”
Trail Walker

A late afternoon trail walk

On cold days, I’m not always excited about putting on all the winter paraphernalia yet another time, especially as the sun is slowly sinking behind the trees; however, today I pushed open the door of my comfort zone and headed out for a chilly hour along the trails in Chagrin River Park.

My first goal was another look at Momma Great Horned Owl, so I chose the trail that led to her dead tree. From my vantage point, a fair distance from the tree, I could see that she was enjoying an afternoon nap, carefully camouflaged in her cozy nest.
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Unfortunately the light was too low to capture a clear picture with my Nikon, so I shot a few photographs, turned away and went in search of other nearby birds. Flitting in the treetops along the trail was a black-capped chickadee that was kind enough to pause for a little portrait shoot.

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When I reached the fence post at the juncture of two trails, I was happy to find the lady cardinal was still willing to pose…

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…as were the blue jay and red-bellied woodpecker…

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From a tree that overhangs the split-rail fence, a white-throated sparrow flew down to grab some peanuts; a pre-dinner appetizer perhaps:

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By this time,  my hands were thoroughly chilled, so I decided it was quitting time. “Tomorrow will be another day,” I said to myself, and hopefully the sun will shine.  Walking back to my car, I took the trail that skirts the bog and paused to watch a few mallards that hadn’t gone in for the night.

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By now it was really time to leave the trail and go home to download my pictures and get supper on the table. I’ll come back in the morning. Hopefully the light will be better!

I’ll look forward to seeing you then!
Trail Walker

Another good morning on the trail

Let’s start with “Big Momma!”…Still sitting on the nest, all alone and sleepy!
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Except for Big Momma, my nickname for the Great Horned Owl, this was pretty much a RED day…Northern cardinals and red-bellied woodpeckers were all over the place. Here are a few of my favorites.

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One female cardinal showed up to get a peanut.

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FINALLY,  this little nuthatch sneaked in for a photo opp. Too cute to resist!
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That’s it for today. It was another sunny but cold day. My fingers were almost frozen at the end of the hour. I hope you enjoyed today’s birds. Do you have a favorite? Are you tired of cardinals? They were everywhere this morning, looking for peanuts and posing for pictures.

See you again soon. Thanks for joining me for today’s walk.

I appreciate your visits, stars, and comments.
Trail Walker

I’m happy to report…

Today was a beautiful day for a photo walk, so first thing this morning I headed for Chagrin River Park. Despite the morning chill, the sun was shining, and the birds were active. I don’t have much time for blogging today, but there is one bird I especially want to share before I sign off for the day, so here she is: A great horned owl, sitting on her nest!

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This is the same place she nested last year, and everyone is excited that she has returned. When I walked down the trail, I really didn’t expect to see her, although I had heard the buzz among the birders that the owls had returned. She was all alone in the nest this morning, and I don’t know any more details, but I will fill you in as soon as I have more news to share. Because of the location of the nest, I couldn’t see her with the naked eye, so I was thrilled to see her face on my computer screen when I got home and downloaded the pictures. More news to come and more pictures from this morning’s walk when I have time to post them tomorrow.

See you soon!
Trail Walker

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